I’m in the corner of my room writing. Hope is downstairs making potato soup and singing Christmas carols. She’s been singing Christmas carols since early November. She’s really belting them out. It’s a happy sound. She was on the Bethel Worship Team this morning and during church it was her turn to teach Church Time for the wee children at Bethel. She got up early and prepared her lesson and got dressed for church and drove off in the snow in her little fluorescent green Beatle.
She was wrapped in a warm poncho this morning that looked all cozy and “Thanksgivingy.” She’s a delightful girl to have around and she is bright. Every once in a while, she even beats me in “This is Jeopardy.” (It’s a fluke when that happens, but she is a bright girl). Probably typical of a child born to older parents she sits with us every weeknight after the news and we don’t move until the final clue has been given. She often makes dinner. Lois cleans up. I faithfully lend charm to the place.
This week we will have some of the children and grandchildren in for our first Thanksgiving on Bittersweet Farm. Last year at this time we were working hard to get Granville Cottage sold so we could move out into our quaint parish in Jackson County. Hope was in Oregon at Bible School then and Lois and I were trying every day to get the house ready and pack and thin out our possessions to downsize into our little farm house. Our hearts were heavy from a great sadness.
This year at Thanksgiving our lives are different. Our hearts are glad with a great joy. Autumn lingered into November. Then the season took a hard turn and already it has snowed three or four times. The other morning there was enough snow for me to start my little tractor and push it around some. The furnace purrs and the warmth spills out and warms our little country home. Light glows from within and we are glad and thankful. We know that God is good. When life is hard God is good. When people are bad, God is good. Even when we are bad God is good. Thanks be unto God we have tasted and we have seen the goodness of God that overcomes the darkest badness.
I closed my Thanksgiving message at Bethel Church this morning with this true story of thanksgiving:
There Was Once A Man
—suffered great loss in his life.
—He had a very difficult marriage.
—He made some very serious mistakes the crushed him with guilt and shame.
—He and his lover had a child die in infancy.
—He had a son he loved very much, who rebelled and eventually came to a violent end.
—He had many heartaches.
—He had many enemies who eventually slandered him and betrayed him.
—He had much family conflict.
—He made some serious mistakes that cost him and those around him dearly.
—But he had a heart for God and when he reached the end of his life he wrote a famous poem… one of the most beloved poems ever written.
—the last line of the poem goes like this… “…surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the day of my life…”
His name was David and his poem is called The Twenty-Third Psalm. He wrote another poem known as the One Hundredth Psalm… It is the first poem I ever memorized… It reaches it’s great climax with an affirmation of the eternal goodness of God… can you say it with me…
“A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100, ESV)
I hope it’s not a hard Thanksgiving for you, but even if it is can I remind you from the deepest place in my heart: When life is hard, God is good. Thanks be unto God.
Bittersweet Farm–Summit Township, Michigan
November 19, 2018